What are hotel bidding sites?

Hotel bidding sites are online booking platforms that allow travellers to bid on hotel rooms at a lower price than the hotel’s advertised rate – sort of like a hotel metasearch where the guest names their price.

The bidding process depends on the platform, but the most common method is for the guest to specify their dates and define their minimum expectations regarding things like beds, amenities and ratings before placing a general bid to multiple hotels in an area. Once a bid is made, a hotel is offered the chance to accept it.

Read on for the full guide to hotel bidding sites and how they can work for your small accommodation business.

Benefits of using the top bidding sites for small hotels

Why would a small, independent hotel use a hotel bidding platform? There are a few good reasons.

Increase occupancy rates, attract more customers

A full room is almost always better than an empty room, and by allowing guests to name a price that they’re comfortable with, you’ll attract more.

Exposure to wider audience and users

By joining a hotel bidding site, you can enable your hotel to reach a loyal audience of users. Many travellers exclusively use bidding sites, knowing that this is where they can secure the very best deals.

Potential for high revenue

Sure, cheap hotel bidding sites mean you can’t charge quite as high a nightly rate for your rooms, but the ability to fill gaps in your reservation calendar can be incredible. As a result you can enjoy a serious boost to your hotel revenue.

Flexibility especially on low seasons

While hotel businesses generally take care of themselves during peak season, an independent hotelier needs to be a little more creative during low season. By allowing guests to bid on your rooms – safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to accept low-ball offers – you can fill your hotel during the quietest periods of the year.

What are examples of the best hotel bidding sites?

Considering capitalising on hotel bidding? Start with this selection of the top hotel bidding sites.

  • Priceline: The world’s most popular hotel bidding site, Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” feature lets users select a location, dates and a minimum star rating, before submitting the price they’re happy to pay. Applicable hotels can then choose to accept this offer.
  • Hotwire: The other major player in the hotel bidding space, for the most part Hotwire works in the same way as PricelineL a user chooses the neighbourhood, star rating, and amenities they desire, they bid a price they’re happy to pay, then matching hotels can choose to accept. Hotwire also gives users the option of seeing the name of the hotel before they pay.
  • Bidroom: This hotel bidding website flips the concept on its head – rather than getting guests to bid, it gets hotels to bid. As a closed, member-only service, Bidroom sidesteps rate parity agreements, allowing your hotel to deliver enticing discounts based on user needs and wants.

How do hotel bidding sites work?

The best hotel bidding sites offer a range of different bidding approaches. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most common bidding methods.

Name your own price 

A method made famous by Priceline and Hotwire, ‘name your own price’ sees a guest nominate their location, dates, minimum hotel expectations and price, then hands these details to hotels that match the criteria. If you’re one of these hotels, you can choose to accept the offer or not, though you should remember that time is of the essence – the first hotel to accept will win the bid.

Express deals 

Express deals see your hotel offer up a discounted package to the users of a particular site, who can then choose from a selection of such packages that match their criteria.

Blind booking 

Many hotel bidding sites offer ‘blind booking’, which offers users the biggest discounts – up to 60% off. The catch: they don’t learn the name and address of the hotel until after they’ve paid. Blind booking is useful for hoteliers who find themselves really struggling to fill rooms.


Hotel auctions can work in a number of ways. One of the most common is for your hotel to offer a specific deal, along with a recommended retail price, that travellers are then invited to bid on over a set period. All bids are blind, and the top bid (or the top five, 20 or 50 bids) win the package.

How hotel bidding sites fit into your overall revenue management strategy

Hotel bidding sites can be viewed as an effective filler or top-up tool for your reservation calendar. Every hotel, no matter its location and reputation, experiences peaks and troughs throughout the year. As an independent hotelier your job is to capitalise on the peaks and manage the troughs as best you can. Hotel bidding sites can help with the latter.

By understanding the break-even point for each of your rooms, you can ensure that you always make money by only ever accepting bids or offering deals that sit above that figure.  And by using a channel manager, you can ensure that you don’t accept bids on rooms that guests will be willing to pay full price for.

Make the most out of hotel bidding sites with Little Hotelier

Managing a hotel bidding strategy is only possible if you efficiently manage your hotel and online presence – which is where Little Hotelier comes in.

A simple, streamlined, all-in-one hotel management system, Little Hotelier can save you up to 35 minutes per booking, freeing you up to fill empty rooms with hotel bidding. You may even convert bidding site users into customers who book directly with you, as Little Hotelier’s direct booking engine can drive up to 46% more bookings, 43% more revenue, and deliver an ROI of 63x!

  • Integrate or create: Our direct booking engine can be seamlessly integrated into your current hotel website, or you can use the Little Hotelier website builder to create a stunning direct booking site in less than an hour.
  • Capitalise on upsell opportunities: By taking control of the booking process you can heighten the guest experience and increase the value of every booking by allowing guests to add extras in a click.
  • Offer specials and discounts: Remove the hotel bidding middleman by offering the very best low season deals on your site – our direct booking engine makes it easy.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).